Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Native Plants - May Flowers and Unknowns

A pleasant May Long Weekend spring walk through a mostly still native grassland urban park resulted in sightings of various native prairie plants (to add to the native plant feature series):

Saskatoon bushes (Amelanchier alnifolia) in bloom. We hope to plant some in the yard eventually if we can manage to find/make some room.

Golden Bean aka Buffalo Bean (Thermopsis rhombifolia). The flowers were used by some native peoples as a source of yellow dye to colour skin bags and arrows. The growth of the flower indicated the time of year when the buffalo were considered fat enough for hunting, hence the name "buffalo bean". The buffalo did not likely eat the flower, as all parts are toxic. [1]

[1] Wild Flowers of Edmonton and Central Alberta, France Royer & Richard Dickinson, 1996

I need to get the 'Calgary and South Alberta' edition, though many plants likely span both books.

Two unknown fossilized plant species discovered in stones removed in local road construction projects. Not sure if this species is still around, not likely I am guessing! I will see if I can find a local palaeontologist that may be able to help.

7 comments:

prairie nymph said...

those fossils are actually quite large, though you can't tell from the pictures

Middle Earth Garden said...

The measurements on the first fossilized leaf is:

130mm x 90mm

The bottom long, narrow leaf is:

192mm x 80mm.

Both are measurements of a single leaf (one leaf of the pair).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. I have buffalo beans growing in my yard and I never knew what they were! Very serendipitous! -jocelyn in edmonton

Middle Earth Garden said...

Anonymous: Very interesting that you have buffalo beans in your yard! Do you live on an acreage with some original prairie, or have they migrated onto your urban lawn somehow? I have not seen the latter happen before.

Calgary flowers said...

Wow.......
That's very nice flowers....
Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures...

Anonymous said...

OK it's nearly July and the weather has turned around. You must have something growing in your veggie garden? I do, but we are about 2 weeks behind last year.

Middle Earth Garden said...

Yes, we are definitely about 2 weeks behind also. The perennials (strawberries, rhubarb, etc) are growing well, but the annuals show barely enough to take photos of (except the wheat which is growing well)! I had to replant my beans and they are just starting to come through the soil.

More details to come soon...

There was an error in this gadget